Beebe, AR — Wildlife officials estimate that over 18 million black birds fell to their death over a one mile area within Beebe Arkansas at midnight.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that the birds have died at midnight on New Year’s Eve in the same area. The number of birds this year greatly exceed previous year’s totals.
“We heard the first bird fall at 11:57 p.m., then probably 10 more over the next minute,” local resident Mabel Jean Jackson tells us. “We pulled the lawn chairs out on the front porch and didn’t hear anything for a couple of minutes. Then at midnight on the dot the sky fell out. They just kept falling. We couldn’t see the ground after a few seconds.”
Local meteorologist Jeff Baskin tells us he began monitoring several large masses on radar moving in the direction of Beebe shortly before the bird deaths. Experts say that it appears the birds traveled from around the country to the area before their death.
“I think what we are seeing is a mass extinction of the red-winged blackbird. Almost every able bird that could travel across North America came here tonight and died,” UALR Ornithologist Mitch Brenner says. “I believe fewer than 500 of the species remain. We will have to study further, but it is likely that the numbers are below the amount needed to sustain existence.”
Blackbird deaths in previous years were attributed to fireworks scaring the birds. Experts now say that is likely not the case.
In other news: Earlier this week Mark Darr announced that he would not resign from his Lt Governor position unless the world ended. A spokesperson for the Governor’s office tells us Darr is expected to make a resignation announcement later today.